Westerly High Music HOF announces new slate of inductees | Daily-news-alerts

Westerly High Music HOF announces new slate of inductees | Daily-news-alerts

WESTERLY — The Westerly High School Music Hall of Fame will induct 10 new members at a ceremony scheduled for April 2, according to Louis M. Toscano and Thomas J. Liguori, members of the selection committee.

The inductees include Angela (Lombardo) Bacari, George Bookataub, Marilyn Frechette Brockmann, Margaret Day, John Graham, Robert Guarino, Albert Norcia, Florence Soloveitzik, William Thorpe and the late David DeAngelis.

“It’s a great group,” said Toscano, who, like Liguori, is a member of the Westerly High School class of 1970. “The emphasis is on music educators.”

Members of the class of 1970 created and endowed the hall of fame as their 50th anniversary class gift in October of 2021. In November, they held an induction ceremony at Westerly’s United Theatre.

“We decided to move the ceremony to the spring so we could showcase the Westerly High School bands,” Toscano said.

Interestingly, Liguori said, three members of the Westerly High School class of 1966 are included on the list of 2023 nominees.

DeAngelis, the 2002-03 Westerly Teacher of the Year, taught music and theater at Westerly High School for 33 years. He also founded the high school’s Theater Scrapbook Company and served as music director at Our Lady of Victory Church from 1993 to 2014.

Bacari, a 1961 graduate of Westerly High School, has had a lifelong career in the music industry. A mentor to Liza Minnelli and Billy Gilman, she has made a number of hit records, toured with such celebrities as Don Rickles, Rodney Dangerfield and Norm Lewis, and has appeared on “The Merv Griffin Show,” “The Dinah Shore Show,” “The Virginia Graham Show” and many Jerry Lewis muscular dystrophy telethons.

Bookataub, also a 1961 graduate of the Westerly High School — where he was voted “Class Musician” — was a member of the first graduating class of Berklee College of Music in 1966, has served as a high school band director for 40 years, and was an instructor of percussion at the University of Maine, Portland.

Brockmann, a graduate of Westerly High School with the class of 1945, performed on Broadway in “All for Love” and road productions of “Blossom Time” and “Miss Liberty.” A regular performer at Fay’s Theater in Providence, she was the soloist at the 1948 Cherry Blossom Festival, performed at the Latin Quarter and has maintained a lifelong love of music.

Day, a 1955 graduate of Westerly High School, studied harp at Julliard School of Music, was the principal harpist for Providence Harp Ensemble and played with a number of local organizations, such as Pfizer Players, St. Pius Church Choir, Immaculate Conception Church Choir, Colonial Theatre and Mystic River Chorale.

Graham, a member of the Westerly High School class of 1966, toured Europe with School Band of America in 1966, taught music in the West Warwick schools from 1970 to 2000 and has performed with both the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Eastern Connecticut Symphony orchestras.

Guarino, also a member of the Westerly High School class of 1966, holds a master’s in voice from Manhattan School of Music and was a tenor soloist with symphony orchestras in Boston, San Antonio, Harrisburg Opera, Orchestra of New York, Princeton Pro Musica and New Haven Chorale. He has performed as lead with Michigan Opera, Atlanta Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera and Wolf Trap Opera. He is professor emeritus at The College of New Jersey and founder of Collegium Musicum, and currently directs Stonington Madrigal Singers. 

Norcia, a graduate of New England Conservatory of Music, taught for more than 20 years in the Westerly school system. He composed the Babcock Junior High School song, wrote and published “Voice,” an instructional guide to singing, judged many statewide student vocal competitions and served as an evaluator of music programs in public schools.  

Soloveitzik, a 1922 graduate of Westerly High School, studied at Julliard School of Music and Yale Conservatory and taught piano in Westerly for many years. Her pupils included hall of famers George Greeley and Al Copley.  

Thorpe, another member of the Westerly High class of 1966, earned degrees from Boston Conservatory of Music in piano and New England Conservatory in voice. A member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, he has performed in 32 states, was a soloist on the CBS-TV broadcast celebrating the Cole Porter Centennial, represented the United States at a United Nations concert in Shanghai, was soloist at the Bethlehem Music Festival, Missouri River Festival, Arizona Heritage Festival, Boston Lyric Orchestra, Boston Civic Symphony, and many other East Coast orchestras. He is also founder of Thorpe Music Publishing Company. 

More information about the April 2 induction ceremony will be released closer to the date.


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